EDITORIAL: Olympics are worth celebrating

Despite criticisms, the Olympic Games – and the athletes taking part – still serve to unite, inspire.

In recent years, the Olympic Games – and the organization in charge, the International Olympic Committee – have rightly taken some knocks.

The IOC has come under fire much in the same way that soccer organization FIFA has, with allegations of all manner of corruption afoot, from host cities spending big bucks to convince IOC voters to choose them, to funds for venue construction mysteriously disappearing, as was reportedly the case at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

On that note, costs to host an Olympic Games have skyrocketed into the billions, which leaves the majority of right-thinking cities – potential host sites, all of them – to bow out on their own, lest their bids bankrupt its own residents.

This leaves only bidders who are, in many ways, unsuitable to host such an event.

Which brings us to this summer’s event in Rio, where organizers are so far behind they’ve given up much on the to-do list already – including the much-publicized cleaning up of the outdoor water venues, which have reportedly made people sick.

With all these issues, many have suggested the Olympic Games are simply no longer worth it, but try telling that to the hundreds of athletes who’ve waited four years – or in some cases, a lifetime – to perform on this, the biggest of stages.

In the past week alone, Surrey and White Rock athletes have punched their ticket to Rio – runner Luc Bruchet, field-hockey player Sukhi Panesar and Paralympic volleyball players Tessa Popoff and Danielle Ellis join a group of soon-to-be Olympians that also includes South Surrey’s Richard Weinberger and White Rock’s Hilary Caldwell.

Try telling Weinberger – who, as an open-water swimmer, will be one of those most affected by the city’s water issues – that the event he’s trained so hard for shouldn’t be held; or try to wipe the smile of Bruchet’s face last Thursday night when he qualified in the 5,000-metre race.

When the Games start on Aug. 5, many of the problems – with Rio specifically and the Olympic committee as a whole – will simply be pushed to the background, for better or worse, as we watch these athletes soar to great heights.

In spite of everything, we still love to watch the athletes, in their country’s colours, strive to be the best in the world. It is still among the most prestigious sports titles any athlete can earn.

It has inspired millions to cheer, to cry to hold our breath. It’s about pride and inspiration – and that’s worth saving.

Just Posted

Fleetwood Park Secondary School’s 2021 commencement ceremonies were held over the course of two days, June 10 and 11. Grads went through a small, distanced ceremony in groups of four, with up to four members of the grad’s household. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s 2021 grads find creative ways to celebrate in another year of COVID-19

This year’s Grade 12 students were unable to have any large-scale events

All nine White Rock Renegades softball teams are set to take part in the Canadian Pride and Power Tournament, scheduled for July 1-4. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock Renegades set to host multi-team Pride and Power softball tournament

‘There’s going to be a lot of excitement in the park,’ said Greg Timm

The Lower Mainland Green Team and students from Earl Marriott Secondary remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park. (Contributed photo)
Green Team returns to White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park to monitor previous work

Environmental volunteers, South Surrey students remove invasive species

Dooris Raad was last seen in South Surrey’s Ocean Park neighbourhood on June 7. (Surrey RCMP photo)
Doris Anderson’s digital triptych Aberration, which she is marketing as an NFT.
Semiahmoo Peninsula abstract painter dives into NFT market

Works sold as one-of-a-kind digital files

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Most Read